To this day, Big L and Jay-Z’s exclusive 1995 Stretch and Bobbito freestyle is the most viewed hip hop freestyle on YouTube.
That’s pretty significant for hip hop which will be graced by multitudes of hip hop overtures in this evening’s awards show.
Before the internet, did you ever wonder where some of your favorite lyrical emcees got their huge break?
Stretch and Bobbito introduced the world to a multitude of unsigned artist in the 90s.
I mean, we’re talking: Big L, Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, Big Pun, Jay-Z, Eminem and the Fugees!!
Many of your favorite lyricists rocked the mic on NYC’s Stretch and Bobbito Show, which aired Thursday nights from 1-AM – 4 AM out of a basement studio with an old operating board from the 60’s.
According to Bobbito their underground rap show “put the street corner in a box.” The impact of that show was the subject of “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives.”
So how did that come about?
“This is actually my second film, my first was titled Walk In The Park: Pick Up Basketball in NYC,” Bobbito Garcia told me on Scoop B Radio.
“I co-directed and co-produced that project which aired on PBS in January of 2014. A young producer by the name of Omar Costas was blown away by it and reached out to me by way of mutual contact and asked me about my next film. I told him that I just had a child and that my first film had aired on public television, so I wasn’t even trying to think about another film. He told me that he used to listen to me and Stretch and a lightbulb went off in my head. So I looked up his reel and knew that we needed to explore and literally three days later we were filming.”
The rest was like logical clockwork.
“I met Omar on Wednesday and on Saturday we were shooting. Riggs Morales who is the former editor of The Source Magazine and Noah Callahan, the Editor In Chief of Complex. Eighteen months later is when we started getting the big names like Jay-Z, Nas and Eminem because it took a long time to get them on camera. They were all willing and happy to be apart of it because they all premiered on our show as unsigned up and coming artists and that list runs long.”
The long list included Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Eminem, Big Pun, Mase, Cam, Big L and more. As a matter of fact, total record sales for all the artists that premiered on their show exceed 300 million. The late-night program had a cult following in the art/fashion world and prison population.
As for the infamous Jay-Z and Big L freestyle, Bobbito says folks are still in awe.
“I actually mentor a couple of kids in Harlem and they’ll talk about the freestyle,” said Bobbito.
“And I’ll tell them you know that’s me saying “ooh wee” on the freestyle right and they don’t believe me at first, but they go back and listen to it and tell me: ‘yo that’s crazy, I heard you on the freestyle.’”